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 February 10, 2020

Small eye movements are critical for 20/20 vision

Michele Rucci in lab
Michele Rucci, professor of brain and cognitive sciences, with equipment he uses to study small movements that a person is not even aware of making. These movements, once thought to be inconsequential, are critical to the visual system in helping us reconstruct a scene. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Researchers previously assumed that visual acuity was primarily determined by the optics of the eye and the anatomy of the retina. Now, researchers from the University of Rochester—including Michele Rucci, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences, and Janis Intoy, a neuroscience graduate student at Boston University and a research assistant in Rucci’s lab in Rochester—show that small eye movements humans aren’t even aware of making play a large role in humans’ visual acuity. The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, may lead to improved treatments and therapies for vision impairments.